£15k donated to music and drama groups in tribute to Ruby Lambert
- Credit: Lambert family
The family of young musician Ruby Lambert who died aged 15 are donating what’s left of the funds they raised for her recovery from a brain injury to charity.
The £15,000 will be shared between the Half Moon youth theatre in Limehouse, which she belonged to, and the Soundbox Ensemble she performed with that’s jointly run by Spitalfields Music, Drake Music and Tower Hamlets Arts and Music education service.
The family, originally from Clapton but now living in the Isle of Dogs, have also planned a special memorial event for when it is safe after the Covid emergency.
Ruby fell ill with a rare undiagnosed heart rhythm disorder when she was five in April 2010, when she was a pupil at Prior Western Primary School at Golden Lane in Finsbury.
She had a cardiac arrest at school and was resuscitated — but was left in a coma for two weeks with a brain injury, leaving her severely disabled.
Her parents took her to America for specialist treatment in 2011 when she was six, where she made significant gains learning to communicate and laugh again.
Friends and family ran marathons, held art auctions and even cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise money for her treatment, such as extra physio and other medical needs not covered by the NHS.
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The family returned from the US in 2012 to their Bethnal Green home in Darwen Place, by the Regent's Canal, before moving to their present home on the Isle of Dogs where her father Simon is a teacher at a primary school in Cubitt Town.
Ruby was a member of the Half Moon’s Solar youth group at Limehouse and the Soundbox music ensemble for youngsters that meets in St Paul's Way School each Saturday.
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She died suddenly in February last year and only a few mourners could attend her funeral because of restrictions starting. The family wants to hold a memorial when it is safe.
“We miss Ruby terribly,” Simon said. “But it’s a comfort to know that her many friends continue to enjoy cultural activities so often denied to those with additional needs.
“We have always been blown away by the innovation of the Solar group and the Soundbox Ensemble, which helps young people enjoy creating drama and music together.”
Ruby played a digital technology music instrument called clarion, which worked using her eye movement, playing sounds and a microphone to vocalise as a member of the ensemble.
Her mum Catherine Newell said: “Ruby had an incredibly busy and active life and loved theatre, all types of music, cinema and football. It was logical to help these organisations continue their activities.
“Ruby would be delighted to know that she has helped her friends continue to express themselves through music and drama.”
Tributes also came this week from Tower Hamlets Arts and Music's Saturday centre, the Half Moon theatre and Spitalfields Music group.
Jak Berry, who runs the Saturday music centre said: “More young people will be able to take part in Soundbox with this donation. Ruby’s legacy will have a lasting effect on the lives of young people.”
Half Moon’s Beccy Allen recalled: “Ruby was a much-loved member of our Solar youth theatre and we all miss her sparkling presence. Her friends talk about her often. We are touched to receive funds as her legacy to continue doing everything they loved doing together with Ruby.”
Nicole Artingstall from Spitalfields Music said: “We got to know Ruby as a bright and twinkly young musician and passionate music-lover when she joined Soundbox in 2018, turning up for every session with her father and often little sister Joni.
"Ruby’s mark on the project lives on.”
The Soundbox project is using the family’s donation for taster sessions and expanding accessible technology.